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Posts Tagged ‘Air force

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It was September 1965. I had cleared my 10th grade with flying colors. We lived in Peshawar then. Our house was so big that if one called from end the voice could not be heard. The house was in the middle and lawns and fields surrounding it. It was built of mud. Walls were as thick as one meter if I’m not wrong. The rooms were huge with high ceilings. The doors were as big and wide that elephant could easily pass. The ventilator in every room was so big that two men could easily sit there.

I’m not at all exaggerating. It is said that Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru also lived there before partition of India, Pakistan. My brother had bought that house. And after he sold it the Excavators found many items of ancient time. Peshawar is one of the oldest cities of the world.

My brother was in Air Force. His family was in Karachi then. I lived there with my mother.

The war was going on between born rivals, India and Pakistan. Lahore was most raided city. So a family of 11 members came to Peshawar to run away from death. They had come to stay with their relatives. That bungalow was as big as ours, just across the road. Two families lived in that house. One was Air Force officer Squadron Leader, Musa and his family and the civilian family.

One day my brother called me from Rawal Pindi as he was on war duty. He asked me to come immediately there with mother. We did the same. My brother always said that in war, dusk and dawn time and full moon night is best to raid and bombard. It was full moon that night.

The airport was not far from our house. We lived on Mall Road. India bombed the airport but missed its target so the bomb hit that house where the family had come all the way from Lahore to escape death.

All members of that house died except one mentally retarded brother of theirs. But surprisingly everything was saved like furniture and all household things. But Musa’s family survived as they ran to trenches hearing the alarming siren. Surprisingly every bit of their household broke smashed and finished, but their lives were safe. As they ran without slippers and in their sleeping dresses so the neighbors provided them with everything. But the unfortunate family couldn’t save their life from death.

One should not fear death. It is fact of life and every breathing soul has to pass away

Bhai Akbar
Bhai Akbar was a simple honest and God fearing man. He lived in our house officially as a cook but we all respected and cared for him as a family member. He joined us when he was in his thirties and stayed until he got fifty. He had low I.Q so he did what and when pleased him. No one could force him to do anything. In short he was never treated as a servant. He used to drink left over tea and eat left over curry in plates no matter how much he was asked to eat fresh when he came to our house.
He loved children. He was very fond of my youngest nephew Adil. So he carried Adil on his shoulders when went to market. The market was quite far from our house in Peshawar . The guests always left before Akbar Bhai returned.
Akbar would leave everything and anything he was busy in for Adil. Adil was hardly 3 years old then.
Adil’s girl friend had come with her parents. Adil would never go to sitting room unless he wore his best suit and polished shoes. So he asked Akbar to polish his shoes instantly.
Akbar was making roti but as obedient servant he left the roti on the stove and started polishing Adil’s shoes grinning all the time. Roti burnt to ashes. No body could say anything to Akbar Bhai for he wouldn’t listen to anybody but Adil.
He served tea at 5 p.m. every day. Akbar Bhai asked Saba without fail if she will take tea though she refused every day.
My brother’s new bicycle was stolen from outside his office. Though he was an officer in Pakistan Air force but in those times riding a cycle had nothing to do with status. Well, after 20 years the cycle was found by the police—– don’t laughJ the police was honest to dutiful too then.
Surprisingly the cycle was in good running condition.
Children were small. They had their own cycles. So it was decided to gift the lost n found classical cycle to Bhai Akbar. Akbar when told this news he smiled shyly as if a bride was arranged for him. He did not know to ride a cycle so when he went to market he would walk with it. Even if he had to bring ice for the party, he would unshackle the cycle first then walk with it and came back walking with water in the bag instead of ice.
We had a very big house so bought a goat. Children loved to play with it.
It was winter season. Akbar Bhai tied the goat under the shade of a tree where charcoal was dumped. As it was winter so charcoal was not visible.
Next day the goat kept sitting all day. Children came and told this. It was surprising so we elders went to see. The poor goat sat still staring at us. Actually she had wedged in the charcoal. Its body melted the charcoal but the cold night again froze it so the goat was jammed too. It was sheer depressing to see the poor animal in such agony due to Bhai Akbar’s foolishness. Cans of kerosene oil were poured on the goat to let loose it. Then it was taken to shave off her body hair. After that it looked so funny. Akbar Bhai felt it too and abundantly fed her.
Akbar went on his annual leave to his village in Murree. He had saved his one year’s salary to marry during his stay there.
When he came back after one month we asked him about his marriage n bride. What he told us was depressing. His father married the same girl whom Akbar wanted to marry. They spent his savings too.
Akbar was very fond of watching movies. I used to write application on his behalf asking permission from my brother J
Once when going to see movie he dropped his wallet somewhere and lost all his money. So after that incident he promised and asked forgiveness from Allah not to see any movie again. He did keep his promise. He became very religious and prayed 5 times regularly no matter what. Once he made a beggar sit in the sitting room when he was going to offer namaz. Poor beggar was astonished too. On inquiring he said simply that since it was very cold so he made him sit inside. It’s difficult to find such pure innocent people like Akbar Bhai now. His character was unmatched. He was dead honest. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.

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